After being optioned to Triple-A in late July, utility man Diego Castillo is quickly pushing to be promoted back to the Pittsburgh Pirates
Late last month the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned utility man Diego Castillo to Triple-A Indianapolis. On the surface it was a move that made sense. Castillo had shown flashes of good things in the major leagues, but was in need of more regular at-bats.
Castillo had hit left-handed pitching well with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. However, he needed to improve against right-handed pitching. The best way for this to happen was for Castillo get every day playing time at Triple-A.
In 257 plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season Castillo was hitting for just a .201/.245/.368 slash line to go with a 68 wRC+, with 10 home runs and a 8% extra base hit rate. Castillo was flashing some promising things though with his 39.5% hard hit rate, 89.2 MPH average exit velocity and 10.5% barrel rate all being better than league average. He also showed super soft hands and quality defense at both shortstop and second base.
However, Castillo was woeful against right-handed pitching. Castillo was hitting for just a .157/.208/.217 slash line to go with a 20 wRC+. That said, he was also plagued by a batting average on balls in play of just .198 against right-handed pitching.
Since being optioned to Triple-A, Castillo has responded positively. Through 13 games played and 56 PAs with the Indianapolis Indians he is hitting for a .314/.375/.471 slash line. Castillo owns a 128 wRC+, 7.1% walk rate, just a 23% strikeout rate, and a 7% extra base hit rate.
Castillo is also coming of a great week with the Indians. Last week Castillo hit for a .375/.400/.583 slash line in 25 PAs with a home run. With Castillo red hot at the plate and showing the improvements you wanted to see from him, he is already pushing for a promotion back to Pittsburgh.
It would not be difficult to find a roster spot for Castillo. Somehow, Josh VanMeter is still on the team’s active roster. Taking VanMeter off the roster and replacing him with Castillo is a move that would improve the Pirate roster and is a move that Castillo is hitting his way to earning.